To get the history leading up to the battle, check out my post on the Glenfinnan Monument.
After Prince Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonny Prince Charlie, raised the standard, took Edinburgh, won a few battles, etc., King George II's forces continued to pressure him. Charles and his troops retired northwards, losing men and failing to take Stirling Castle or Fort William, but investing Fort Augustus and Fort George in Inverness by early April. Charles now took charge again, insisting on fighting a defensive action.
Early on April 16, the Government army marched from Nairn and Jacobite guns sounded the alarm. The weather was very poor, with a gale driving sleety rain into the faces of the exhausted Jacobites. The Prince's artillery, outnumbered some three to one, opened fire first, but due to a lack of trained gunners it had little impact. Over the next twenty minutes Cumberland's superior artillery continued to batter the Jacobite lines, while Charles, moved for safety out of sight of his own forces, waited for the government forces to move. Several clan leaders, angry at the lack of action, pressured Charles to issue the order to charge. When he was eventually persuaded to issue the order, the McDonalds refused, angry because they had been placed on the left flank overturning their traditional right to take the right flank. The Highlanders advanced on the left flank of the Government troops but were subjected to several volleys of musket fire and the artillery which had switched from roundshot to grapeshot.
|Culloden Battlefield, originally uploaded by Mike Stirling.|
While the attack was still in progress, a small number of the Government forces had breached the park wall and the Campbell militia advanced unseen to fire at the right flank of the Jacobite lines. This added to all the other brutal gunfire, and threatened by cavalry the Jacobites were forced to retreat. The Duke ordered in his dragoons to rout the Jacobite forces, but the small contingent of elite Irish and other regular regiments covered the retreat as the Jacobites withdrew.
In a total of about 60 minutes, the Duke was victorious, around 1,250 Jacobites died, a similar number were wounded, and 558 prisoners were taken. The end of battle saw 52 dead and 259 wounded among Cumberland's Government forces.
|Memorial Cairn, Culloden Moor, originally uploaded by allanmaciver.|